Middle East

Iran warships enter Mediterranean via Suez Canal

Iranian support ship Kharg
One of the ships, the Kharg, took part in last year's mission

Iranian warships have entered the Mediterranean Sea for only the second time since the 1979 revolution.

The destroyer Shahid Qandi and its supply vessel Kharg have passed through the Suez Canal but their destination remains unclear.

Navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayari told the Irna agency the mission was a show of might and a "message of peace".

Two Iranian navy vessels entered the Mediterranean in February last year. Israel called it a "provocation".

Admiral Sayari was quoted by Irna as saying: "The strategic navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has passed through the Suez Canal for the second time since the Islamic Revolution."

The mission conveyed "the might" of Iran to regional countries and Tehran's "message of peace and friendship".

The ships were reported to have docked earlier at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Reuters quoted a source at the Suez Canal authority as saying the vessels might be en route to Syria.

The mission comes amid heightened tension between Iran and Israel.

Iran has recently announced developments in its nuclear programme, prompting some speculation Israel may launch an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Israel has also blamed Iran for recent attacks on Israeli targets in Georgia and India, an accusation Tehran denies.

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